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Does Sandless Floor Refinishing Work [& How To]?

You envision your hardwood floor returning to its former glory - gleaming and rehabilitated - but without enduring the cloud of dust that traditional sanding brings. Or so you think. But is this relatively newfangled process as good as it claims to be? We research and found answers to this question.

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Sandless floor refinishing removes hardened surface dirt and residual buildup from cleaning agents by applying liquid solvent and buffing with an abrasive pad attached to a polisher. A topcoat of protective finish then follows it.  

But that's just scratching the surface (no pun intended.) Keep reading to learn more about the sandless style of restoring hardwood floors and what it entails. 

How Sandless Floor Refinishing Came About

Sandless floor refinishing is the brainchild of Peter Shihadeh, owner of a floor repair company. In 2001, he invented the technology for floor refinishing without sanding. It allows routine activities to continue without the interruption that traditional sanding brings about. 

Man polishing the flooring of the house

The initial project was at Rat's Restaurant at the Grounds for Sculpture grounds in Hamilton, New Jersey. Sandless floor refinishing has become a popular choice for giving new life to an old floor, albeit with limitations. 

Today, many companies provide sandless floor refinishing as a routine maintenance service for homes, offices, and businesses. The method is just a retouch, not a remedy for removing scratches and gouges on your floor. It doesn't remove the old polyurethane finish, so you can't change your floor's color. 

Sandless Floor Refinishing: The Process

Sandless is a no-brainer. There is no sanding technique done, and there is no by-product. In sandless refinishing, these are the basic ">steps:

Cleaning & Rinsing

A water-based solution softens the old finish and loosens stubborn dirt and polish residue. The solution also soaks up these tiny matters, eliminating the scattering of dust particles. The floor is rinsed and mopped after the wet process.

Get this Bona Hardwood floor spray mop on Amazon.

Check out this Bona Liquid Cleaner refill on Amazon.

Buffing & Detailing

A polisher buffs the floor surface with a disk that has an abrasive pad attached to it. The buffing further cleans the surface to prepare it for the new coat of finish. A thorough follow-up cleaning comes next, including the hidden nooks and crannies.

Get this Oreck Orbiter floor scrubber polisher on Amazon.

Sealing & Finish

A bonding agent is applied to the surface and given enough time to dry, about 20 minutes. The new coat of finish is applied to the floor. 

Check out this Ultra HIGH Gloss floor finish wax on Amazon.

Pros And Cons Of Sandless Floor Refinishing

A huge scratch on the parquet flooring

Before you give your floor a sandless finish, it's best to know the downsides and benefits of this technique. Is it the most suitable treatment?

Is the cheap cost worth it, or is it a waste of money? How different is it from traditional sanding? Here are the pros and cons of this floor treatment method to help you make an informed decision.

Advantages

A polishing machine used for polishing the new parquet flooring

Sandless floor refinishing has gotten some bad press, as can be expected with being the new kid on the block. These criticisms are from purists who would never accept the sandless process as a refinishing alternative.

Businesses that offer traditional sanding for wood floors and furniture don't support this process either. Still, sandless refinishing does have its good points.

  • It is cheaper than complete traditional sanding, costing you about half the latter's price.
  • It is fast and takes only a few hours to a day.
  • It does not produce odor or dust that may cause allergies or asthma.
  • It thoroughly cleans the floor by removing hardened dirt and old floor wax. 
  • It gives the floor a new finish.
  • It does not thin out the wooden floor since no wood is removed.
  • It adds to the lifespan of a hardwood floor by keeping it clean without stripping layers of wood from it. 

Disadvantages

Worker polishing the parquet flooring, Does Sandless Floor Refinishing Work [& How To]?

Manage your expectations because sandless floor refinishing has its limitations. Here are the drawbacks of this particular floor treatment method.

  • It is a mere retouch of the floor and isn't similar to an authentic sanding process that completely transforms an old floor.
  • It does not repair or remove dents, scratches, gouges, faded and discolored areas, and pet stains.
  • It doesn't allow for a change of color since the existing urethane finish stays.
  • It does not restore the original beauty and sheen of a hardwood floor.  

When To Use Sandless Floor Refinishing

Extremely damaged parquet flooring

Sandless floor refinishing is very appealing for transforming a lackluster, worn-out floor. Despite some negative feedback, sandless refinishing does have its uses

  • If your floor is still good but showing signs of wear and tear, it can benefit from an intensive cleaning, which is what the sandless method does.
  • A sandless option will allow you to keep your routine if you cannot afford a downtime of more than a day but want to have your floor cleaned.
  • If your floor has thinned out from several sandings, a sandless treatment will not strip wood off your floor.
  • A sandless treatment can fill in if you can't wait for a complete sanding because of budget constraints. 

What Is Dustless Floor Refinishing?

Often confused with sandless floor refinishing, dustless floor refinishing is a more invasive technique and is traditional sanding without dust. The term dustless is appropriate because the hardwood floor goes through sanding.

But the accompanying dust particles are caught in a dust container that is a component of the sanding machine. In dustless floor refinishing, you get the same results as complete sanding. The old finish is removed, damages on the floor are fixed, and your hardwood floor is restored to its natural beauty and shine. 

What Does Mr. Sandless Do?

Mr. Sandless's primary business is treating worn-out, tired-looking wooden floors through sandless floor refinishing. Their refinishing technique excludes sanding. While this may preserve the wood's thickness, it will not fix scratches and other damage that sanding can do.  

They use proprietary and premium products from meticulous research to give the best results. Their products are not sold in stores but only through their services.

Damage flooring due to earthquake

The first step in their sandless refinishing process is to mop the floor with their own odorless and green liquid cleansing agent. This solution soaks up the tough dirt and accumulated floor wax residue.

Then they use a buffing machine with abrasive pads attached to a disk to polish the surface. Detailing follows. They thoroughly clean the floor, including the hard-to-reach corners and spaces. The final step is to lay on a bonding agent, then add the top coat finish. 

They can remedy some stains by laying on a tint and blending it with the surface to make the discolorations less noticeable. Aside from the short time it takes to refinish a floor at half the cost of traditional sanding, Mr. Sandless offers a five-year warranty for cracking, peeling, chipping, and yellowing.

Please note that pet stains are stubborn. They get absorbed into the wood and don't come off without stripping off a layer of wood or replacing the stained board.

Watch how Mr. Sandless work in this video.

What Mr. Sandless Does Not Do

Knowing what to expect from a Mr. Sandless floor refinishing will save you from belated disappointment and regrets. Here's what you won't get from a company's refinishing job:

  • The Mr. Sandless process does not remove the old finish of your floor since they use only a mild liquid stripper. Stripping the floor from the finish requires a more invasive procedure like sanding.
  • It does not repair damages on the floor, such as scratches, dents, and perforations. 
  • Although Mr. Sandless boasts a sand-free operation that reduces the risks of allergies and asthma, many modern traditional sanding companies also use sanders equipped with a dust collection system that prevents dust dispersal.

In A Nutshell

Worker polishing the parquet flooring

If you are contemplating a sandless floor refinishing, remember that this method works only for floors that are beginning to show signs of a slight deterioration. It is effective for cleaning and buffing but will not remove deep stains or repair scratches or gouges. 

If your floor is badly scratched, stained, and damaged, sandless floor refinishing will not restore it to its naturally beautiful and gleaming state.

For other wood floor concerns, read these posts:

How To Fix A Cracked Floorboard

How Long Does It Take To Sand A Hardwood Floor?